I said in my write-up for Of Rot and Ruin for our April Editors’ Picks post that it was going to take “something pretty special” to beat it out as

4 years ago

I said in my write-up for Of Rot and Ruin for our April Editors’ Picks post that it was going to take “something pretty special” to beat it out as my album of the year. Here we are eight month’s later and, while the year produced some strong contenders, nothing ever really came close to toppling Hath‘s debut from its prime position.

The album provided a beacon, during what I felt like was an incredibly weak start to the year, and somehow only grows richer with each revisit. You can read more about how the band perfectly blend the progressive sensibilities of classic Opeth with a formidable death metal foundation in my original review of the album, and find out more about that foundation in the fantastic Anatomy Of post they did for us as well. It’s only early days for the New Jersey quartet. Yet, even in a year when Opeth themselves finally got it together and released another great album (which I notice isn’t included among any of the band’s picks), Of Rot and Ruin reigned supreme.

In celebration of their triumph, each member of Hath has provided us with a shortlist of the albums that have been inspiring them in 2019. The combined lists reveal a collective love of Heavy Blog favourites such as Abigail Williams and Vitrol, along with personal highlights like Cattle Decapitation and Norma Jean – which fits in perfectly with Of Rot and Ruin. Each member also brings their own personal twists to the table as well; whether it be ice-cold Nordic prog, esoteric one-man projects and goth-rock delights, or hard-hitting, emotionally charged rock n’ roll. It all adds up to the perfect combination that is Hath (well, apart from that last one maybe), and I can’t wait to see what they come out with next.

Get acquainted with Of Rot and Ruin below, if you haven’t already and then read on to find out which albums struck a chord with the band’s members in 2019.

Peter Brown (Guitar)

Numenorean – Adore

My most listened to album this year was no contest. Dark, moody and full of hooks; Adore deserves all of the praise it’s receiving. If you like bands like Alcest and Deafheaven, do yourself a favor and check out Adore.

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark

I’m really struggling to describe this album. It’s black metal, but is so loaded with great moments and fantastic songwriting that just calling it “a great black metal album” is unfair.

Vitriol – To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice

Vitriol came out of nowhere and punched me right in the nuts. To Bathe From the Throat of Cowardice is 44 minutes of some of the angriest death metal I’ve heard in a long time. I’m happy to see them blowing up. Album’s great, go listen to it.

Vale of Pnath – Accursed

Short and sweet at 27 minutes but packed with riffs that expand on the best parts of their last album, II (2016). The droney, harmonic riff at the end of “Spectre of Bone” is one of those riffs I’m pissed I didn’t write.

Borknagar: True North

Proggy, folky black metal with ICS Vortex returning on vocals. True North might be their best album to date and “Voices” has been in my head (badum tss) for weeks.

Frank Albanese (Guitar, Vocals)

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond The Dark

I’ve been a fan of Abigail Williams since their debut, and I can honestly say this is their best album, no contest. This is the album they were meant to make, and if doubters listen to it, I don’t see how they can’t be swayed. It’s dark, it’s intense, even triumphant at times. Ever So Bold is a standout track, but the whole thing is a goddamn masterpiece.

Drastus – La Croix De Sang

Dark, twisting, sinister black metal from France. What more could you ask for? I can’t stress enough how dark this record is. There’s just something about one-man projects (as with Violet Cold below) nailing a consistent atmosphere, which for La Croix De Sang is oppressive and maniacal.

Idle Hands – Mana

Mana is magic. Pure electricity. If this album doesn’t make you want to sing along, you’re dead inside. It’s extremely addictive goth metal that really stood out this year, in the vein of bands like In Solitude, Tribulation, and To/Die/For. Mana is so good, it sometimes makes me feel like I’m making the wrong kind of music.

Ketzer – Cloud Collider

I wasn’t familiar with Ketzer until this year, but Cloud Collider was a great introduction to the band. The best way I could describe it is black metal with muscular riffs, and melody right when necessary. It’s chaotic in the best way, each track having its own identity yet still feeling like the same band. There’s a real fire to the performances on this one, particularly Desecratør’s drumming and Destroyer’s bestial vocals.

Violet Cold – Kosmik

I’m a big fan of music that takes me somewhere else, and this album does that more than any other that I’ve heard this year. The ever-prolific (seriously) Emin Guliyev worked wonders once again with Kosmik, making one of the most cohesive post-black metal albums I can remember, seamlessly hitting the entire emotional spectrum. The drums and the weaving of samples over the music really shine on this release.

AJ Viana (Drums)

Abigail Williams – Walk Beyond the Dark

Listening to the singles they dropped for this album, I knew it would be good. But that’s a definite understatement as this record absolutely rules. Great atmosphere and the songs are killer.

Russian Circles – Blood Year

This. Record. Is. So. Good. But seriously though, Russian Circles are on another plane of music writing existence. The songs can be quite dense while still being very dynamic, and everything has a great ebb and flow to it.

Norma Jean – All Hail

Holy FUCK is this record heavy. From the arrangements, to the vocals, and of course the production. Everything about this record wants to suffocate you under its heft.

Vitriol – To Bathe from the Throat of Cowardice

If you ever wanted to know what sound anger made, look no further. This record would pull your boxers over your head and kick you down a hill if it could.

Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

I mean c’mon. It’s not even fair how good Cattle Decapitation are at this point, and they definitely didn’t disappoint with this record.

Greg Nottis (Bass, Vocals)

Norma Jean – All Hail

This record is absolutely crushing. It’s got everything I look for in a hardcore record. Amazing production, crushing riffs and really heavy, tasteful breakdowns. The vocals sound like he ate glass before every take.

Bayside – Interrobang

Bayside have been my favorite band for an entire decade, and this album is one of the reasons why they’ve stayed at the top for me. The songwriting is catchy and aggressive, great tones and solos. It’s an album you expect from the band but still have a really new sound with each record.

Cattle Decapitation – Death Atlas

This album is absolutely ridiculous. They’ve only gotten better ever since the release of Monolith of Inhumanity (2012). The riffs are fast and brutal and the vocal range of Travis Ryan is hard to compete with.

Of Rot and Ruin is one of 2019’s best records and can be streamed/purchased through Hath’s bandcamp page.

Joshua Bulleid

Published 4 years ago